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Method for recovering metals from waste

United States Patent

November 7, 2000
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
Savannah River National Laboratory - Visit the Technology Transfer Website
A method for recovering metals from metals-containing wastes, and vitrifying the remainder of the wastes for disposal. Metals-containing wastes such as circuit boards, cathode ray tubes, vacuum tubes, transistors and so forth, are broken up and placed in a suitable container. The container is heated by microwaves to a first temperature in the range of approximately C. to combust organic materials in the waste, then heated further to a second temperature in the range of approximately 1,000-1, C. at which temperature glass formers present in the waste will cause it to melt and vitrify. Low-melting-point metals such as tin and aluminum can be recovered after organics combustion is substantially complete. Metals with higher melting points, such as gold, silver and copper, can be recovered from the solidified product or separated from the waste at their respective melting points. Network former-containing materials can be added at the start of the process to assist vitrification.
Wicks; George G. (North Augusta, SC), Clark; David E. (Gainesville, FL), Schulz; Rebecca L. (Gainesville, FL)
The United States of America as represented by the United States Department of Energy (Washington, DC), University of Florida (
09/ 199,696
November 25, 1998
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DEAC09-89SR18035 between the U.S. Department of Energy and Westinghouse Savannah River Company.